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February 2016

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 feb 2016

Government policies and budgetary allocations play an important role in building a business-friendly environment. Since startups are essential for growth of economic activity, they need to be nurtured during their early stages of development. Government has to provide facilitating ecosystem for entrepreneurial ventures and give special consideration in annual budgets. Indian government's campaigns like 'Make in India', 'Startup India', 'Digital India' and 'Skill India', are driven to stimulate economic activity and support local business development along with attracting global investments. To fulfil these ideas and particularly 'Startup India', Indian government's Budget'2016 should have specific allocations for startups. Following is the list of 19 entrepreneurs and their expectations from the budget - (1) K. Balakrishnan, MD & CEO, Servion Global Solutions: Provide necessary incentives, legal/tax framework and infrastructure support to IT and Electronics industry; Increase investments in broadband connectivity; Improved IT infrastructure and e-governance. (2) Saurabh Arora, Founder & CEO, Lybrate: Increase the tax holiday period from 3 years to at least 5 years; Profitable startups be charged less corporate tax; Benefit of tax rebate on healthcare expense should be for entire tax payer class and not just for salaried class. (3) Aloke Bajpai, CEO & Co-founder, ixigo: Tourism-friendly policies; Focus more on infrastructure and develop airports and provide better connectivity to smaller towns; Better definition for online aggregators and their taxation norms; Clearly define online marketplace. (4) Sobhan Babu, Professor at IIT Hyderabad and founder of Plianto Technologies: Support for startups in the tender bidding process with easy norms. (5) Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director of Bird Group and Member of CII National Committee on Civil Aviation: Draft aviation policy and development of airports in tier-I and tier-II cities is a positive step; Address challenges related to complex policies, aggressive price cuts, multi-tiered tax system and infrastructure deterring the true potential of the Indian aviation industry; Treat aviations sector as national priority. (6) Rohan Bhargava, Co-founder, CashKaro.com: Fund-of-funds and tax benefits for startups need to be implemented effectively; Set out clear and measurable timelines with minimal bureaucratic intervention; Provide clear tax policy that will address the complications of the current tax structure faced by ecommerce sites; Present GST roadmap. (7) Manish Kumar, CEO & Co-founder, GREX Alternative Investments Pvt Ltd: Fund-of-funds should invest directly in startups; Proposed US$ 1.5 billion in FoF is not enough to make impact; Remove 'angel tax'; Relaxation on capital gain tax; Explore alternative ways for raising funds like venture debt; Promote risk investing through proper framework for investor exit. (8) Geetha Kannan, Managing Director, The Anita Borg Institute (ABI) India: Expecting 'gender mainstreaming'; Integrate gender perspective to all relevant policies and initiatives; Special allocation for women entrepreneurs; Provide women-friendly facilities and infrastructure in '100 Smart City' initiative; Focus on women-safety; Get more aggressive on women-specific policies. (9) Ankita Tandon, Chief Operating Officer, CouponDunia: Minimal government or bureaucratic intervention in channeling startup funds; Further increase existing tax exemptions for startups; Better internet connectivity in tier-I and tier-II cities; Introduce tax incentives for startup employees to encourage youths to join startups. (10) Srikanth Reddy, Founder/Chairman, Palred Technologies & LatestOne.com: Encourage participation of Indian institutional investors in startups; ESOP/Sweat Equity shares should be taxed when they are actually sold. (11) Deepit Purkayastha, Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, Inshorts: 'Skill India' program should work with 'Startup India'; Maket investments to impart contemporary skills and entrepenerial education; Overhaul of university incubators; Exempt tax on angel investments and ESOPs and relaxed regime for startups to go public and launch IPOs. (12) Pushpinder Singh, CEO & Co-founder, Travelkhana: Announce separate railways startup policy; Include only the transportation cost on rail ticket with additional facilities like food, blankets etc kept as optional charges; Develop a system to utilize data generated by railways everyday. (13) Sanjay Sethi, CEO & Co-founder, Shopclues: GST should become a reality; Tax incentives for startup employees; Policy support for startups going for IPO. (14) Mohit Dubey, Co-founder & CEO, Carwale: Steps toward concrete vehicular pollution policy; Incentives and rebates for hybrids and less polluting vehicular technologies; Fuel policy towards global quality standards and encourage less polluting fuels. (15) Vipin Pathak, Co-founder & CEO, Care24: Easy FDI investment norms, licensing and startup support (tax, documentation, licensing, legal). (16) Manu Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Naaptol: Provide clarity to taxation laws relatd to online marketplaces; Better infrastructure and logistic systems like larger ports and transit systems are need to facilitate imports. (17) Hitesh Doshi, CMD, Waaree Energies: Push for solar manufacturing industry through fulfilling material's requirement locally; Encourage local production through incentives and implementation of anti-dumping policies; Investments in solar energy R&D and technology innovation; Policy reforms like that of depreciation benefits. (18) Amit Mishra, Co-founder & CEO, Quifers: Streamline tax on capital deducted at source like giving first year start-ups the benefit of tax exemption at source; Decreasing service tax by a certain percentage in the first year of operation; Giving out tax benefits and incentives to early stage investors. (19) Chirag Haria, CEO of Aarogyam Energy Jewellery: Utilization of India Post Rural Network with incentives on Cash on Delivery (COD) orders in Rural India, to help increase rural spending; Income tax benefits for individuals/trust investing in Gold Monetization Scheme to bring down gold imports; Increase Excise Duty exemptions from 1.5 crore to 5 crore to encourage small scale manufacturing and prevent black marketing. Read on...

TechStory: What Startups Want From Budget 2016?
Author: Dipti Gore


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 feb 2016

Experts at the international health conference, 'Delivering On the Promise of Universal Health Coverage in India: Policy Options and Challenges', suggested that India has to sincerely and immediately resolve the issues related to the healthcare sector. Over the years the sector has been neglected, policy decisions are influenced too much with politics and the sector was unable to provide quality services. According to Prof. T. Sundararaman, dean of School of Health Systems Studies at TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences), 'The 12th Five Year Plan said it will be the health plan but soon after funds dried up.' Prof. Sundararaman mentioned some of the important issues adversely affecting the growth of the health sector - re-positioning the role of states, contradictory assessment of NRHM (National Rural Health Mission), contradictions in HR policy and a gap between expectations and reality in private sector engagement. Anjali Chikersal of Center for Policy Research said, 'The first thing we need is availability of data. India has critical shortage of manpower in the sector but we also have imbalances.' According to Ravinder Singh Duggal of Internatinal Budget Partnership, 'We are producing adequate number of doctors but we do not capitalise on that. India needs consolidated National Health Rights Bill as our approach to health is very fragmented.' Prof. Richard Cash of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health commented, 'India needs to learn from others, especially from those who share like experiences.' Ajith M. Sharan, Secretary at Ministry of AYUSH, added, 'We need to look at different kind of paradigm with more focus on paramedics.' Read on...

Business Standard: India needs to urgently resolve healthcare issues - Experts
Author: NA


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 feb 2016

Make in India Week has now started in Mumbai and along with it India Design Forum (IDF) 2016 is developing strategies and advocating how a facilitating design environment and culture can be nurtured to enable growth of manufacturing. IDF is integrated into Make in India campaign's plan to demonstrate the potential of design, innovation and sustainability across India's manufacturing sector. Rajshree Pathy, founder of IDF, explains, 'Design is not merely about clothes, shoes, handbags and jewellery, as is commonly believed. Those are incidental. Design is, in fact, at the heart of the manufacturing process. It is not a 'thing', it is a way of thinking.' Satyendra Pakhale, an Amsterdam-based designer, citing Tata Nano's example says, 'It is a good example of Indian design, which combined engineering innovations with a careful consideration for the demands of the domestic market. In fact, one of India's most famous qualities - jugaad - is indicative of an innovative mindset.' According to Simran Lal, CEO of Good Earth, 'It's important that we bring rural design and India's rural design communities along on this journey.' Time is now ripe for India to upgrade to a design-driven manufacturing ecosystem, attract global investments, partner with global corporations and manufacture for the world, but without losing the focus on serving the needs of the large local market. Read on...

The Indian Express: Make in India Week - Putting design at the heart of manufacturing
Author: Pooja Pillai


Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 feb 2016

Dynamics of interactions, engagement and relationships between entrepreneurs and investors is an essential component of new business development process. During the initial phase of startup creation and at different stages of development and growth of their enterprise, entrepreneurs need investors that can fulfil their financial or fundraising requirements. Prof. Thillai Rajan A. of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras and Prof. Swati Panda of Institute of Management Technology at Hyderabad, provide insights on how entrepreneurs can improve their chances of getting funded if they understand the differences between various types of investors and pitch to them accordingly. They conducted a detailed survey of 45 investors, whom they classified into three categories - angel investors, independent venture capitalists (VCs) and institutional VCs. All types of investors consider valuation as having a mix of both subjectivity and objectivity, but the quantity of each vary with the type of investor. Higher number of angel investors indicated valuation as a subjective process, while higher proportion of institutional VCs consider valuation as an objective process. When asked about the priorities for the different factors that influence valuation, all investors indicated that founder and management team are the biggest influencer of valuation. Moreover all types of investors gave least emphasis to past financial performance, and focused more on the future prospects. In case of relative importance of valuation, deal structure and return covenants, although all investors gave valuation of deal first preference, but the relative priorities differ. For angel investors valuation is relatively lowest while return covenants the highest. Deal structuring has almost same emphasis for all. Prof. Rajan explains, 'This indicates that entry valuation can be an important determinant of returns. While deal structure and return covenants can help contain losses, valuation probably determines the magnitude of upside gains from the investment.' Knowing the differences between investors can assist entrepreneurs to customize their propositions and deliver effective and targeted communication. Read on...

The Hindu: Right pitching key to fund-raising
Authors: Thillai Rajan A., Swati Panda


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